Nearly one in five Brits fall victim to card fraud

Credit cards

Nearly one in five British people have their cards cloned at ATMs and Chip and PIN machines. In light of new statistics, British consumers can no longer take the 'it won't happen to me' approach to card fraud. We look at some measures you can take to protect yourself.

While the internet remains the leading source of fraud, increasing numbers of ATM, credit card and debit card holders are being swindled on our high streets. And new figures show that London has now overtaken Birmingham as the worst city for credit and debit card fraud.

Research from Life Assistance company CPP identifies the ten worst hotspots in Britain for card fraud – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leeds, Norwich, and Edinburgh.

Although credit card fraud can happen to anyone, women and elderly are particularly at risk. The research also shows that nearly half of people do not realise they are victims of fraud until they check their bank statements. For this reason, it is very important to check the balance on all your accounts at least a couple of times a week.

“Card fraud is a serious concern that is still common despite preventative measures put in place to combat this including Chip and PIN. Fraud levels increased by 26% in the first six months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006, to reach £264m,” says Zoe Manton, head of Card Protection at CPP.

“Although we are regularly told to report our lost and stolen cards immediately, on average we are taking nearly ten hours to tell our banks and card companies. The good news is that 56.7% of respondents said they now check their bank statements thoroughly to pick up on any suspicious activity. However, with more than one in five adults (21%) a victim of card fraud, the issue still needs urgent attention and consumers still need to do more to look after their financial affairs.”

Here are some tips to help stop you becoming another victim of card fraud:

  • Make sure your mail is secure and know when to expect your credit and debit cards if you have ordered new ones. Also, try to be aware of when bills and banks statements should arrive.
  • Don't let your cards out of sight in a shop or restaurant – they may be copied or cloned.
  • Never write down PIN numbers, passwords, user names unless you absolutely have to.
  • When you enter your PIN in a shop or at an ATM, keep the number hidden well.
  • Only carry the cards you need in case your have your wallet/purse stolen.
  • If you are going to throw away post with your personal details shred it first – this even includes junk mail.
  • If you move house inform your bank, credit card and utility providers of your new address. Use the Royal Mail redirection service and consider registering with the mail preference service to prevent mail going to your old address.
  • Keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your personal details ask yourself why they would need them. This applies to online, telephone, post and doorstep enquiries.
  • If you store valuable documents at home, for example, passports, driving licence and bank statements, keep them hidden and secure.
  • If you store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date security software.

Fraud is becoming an increasingly serious problem in Britain. For more information on how you can protect yourself check out our articles on identity fraud – Identity fraud: Are you protected? and A closer look at identity fraud.

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